Niagara County Health Director Offers Tips to Prevent Heat Exposure

July 19, 2011 Updated Jul 19, 2011 at 4:53 PM EDT

By WKBW News


Niagara County Health Director Offers Tips to Prevent Heat Exposure

July 19, 2011 Updated Jul 19, 2011 at 4:53 PM EDT

Lockport, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- With a heat wave expected to last for the next several days, Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel Stapleton is offering some common sense measures the public can take to prevent health consequences

Heat waves can have serious health effects or even cause death in overheated individuals.

·         * Watch the weather reports and adjust your activity schedule accordingly when possible. Avoid high-exertion activities.  If you must exercise, do it in the early a.m. or later in the evening.

·         * Do not leave infants, children or pets alone in motor vehicles, ever.

·         * Don’t swaddle or overdress infants. Remember, if you’re hot, they’re hot too.

·         * Keep everyone well-hydrated. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.  You could already be dehydrated.  In seniors, dehydration does not always trigger a thirst sensation.  Keep water available. Avoid alcohol, high-sugar and caffeine containing drinks. If you drink these beverages, alternate with water. Keep a small cooler or thermos of water in your vehicle, especially if traveling with children or driving an older car. The inside of the mouth should always be moist. A dry appearing mouth is a sign of dehydration.  Infants, children and seniors who are dependent on others for care should be carefully monitored and offered fluids several times an hour.  Don’t forget that pets need access to plenty of fresh water at all times.

·         * Breast-fed babies may need to nurse more frequently to stay hydrated. Mothers should keep water handy to replace fluids lost during breast-feeding.

·         * If camping, do not leave infants, children or animals asleep in tents or trailers unless the trailer is air conditioned.

·         * Stay out of the sun when possible. Move kiddy pools to shaded areas.  Never leave children of any age unattended in any size pool. Move pet shelters into the shade.

·         * Cool off in a tepid shower or bath

·         * If you work or live in a cooled environment, stay inside when possible.

·         Malls, department stores and movie theaters are good places to go and cool down

·         * Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and what to do.





What to Do

Heat stroke

(sun stroke)

• Hot, dry, red skin

• Rapid pulse

• High body temperature ≥ 105°F

• Loss of alertness

• Confusion

• Unconsciousness or coma

• Rapid and shallow breathing

• Call 911 immediately.

• Cool the person quickly.

• Bring to a cool place and use a cool bath or sponges, fans and AC.


• Wrap ice packs in cloth and place on neck, wrists, ankles and armpits.


• Remove clothing and wrap the person in cool, wet sheets.

Heat exhaustion

• Heavy sweating

• Fainting

• Vomiting

• Cold, pale, clammy skin

• Dizziness

• Headache

• Nausea

• Weakness

• Heat exhaustion can quickly lead to heat stroke so if symptoms worsen or don’t improve get medical help.

• Move the person to a cool place.

• Loosen clothes and apply cool, wet cloths to the neck, face and arms.

• Have the person sip water slowly. Provide half a glass of water every 15 minutes up to about 1 quart. Stop giving water if vomiting occurs.

Heat cramps

• Muscle cramps in the abdominal area or extremities

• Heavy sweating

• Mild nausea

• Move the person to a cool place.

• Apply firm pressure to the cramping muscle.

• Gently stretch the cramped muscle and hold it for 20 seconds followed by gentle massage.

• Have the person drink some cool water.

Heat rash

• Skin irritation that looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters

• Move the person to a cool place.

• Keep the affected area dry.

• Have the person use talcum powder to increase comfort.